The rapture and the Second coming of Christ Part 2

The rapture or the second coming

The Rapture part 2

By

Jose de Carvalho

 

The rapture and the second coming of Christ are often confused. Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether a scripture verse is referring to the rapture or the second coming.This post must be read subsequent to perusing my previous post on the ‘rapture’ http://whataddsmeaningtolife.co.za/?p=264 .

Although the Thessalonian correspondence is not a letter about eschatology, in addressing a new question in that community, Paul’s response plays a strategic part in shaping the outlook of the converts who heard it. Some believers in Thessalonica have died – “those who have fallen asleep” (v.13). The surviving believers, having heard Paul’s enthusiastic proclamation of the return of Christ, may have expected Christ’s return to be in a short while. This is not surprising as Paul appears to expect to be among the “we” (v.15, 17) that will be alive at the time of Jesus’ return. Thus the community was taken aback when death came to the lives of some before Christ returned. This advent left the community wondering whether or not the brothers and sisters had been cut off from the hope of participating in Christ’s return. Paul assured the believers that those who have died ‘in Christ’ will also be triumphant over death, just like Christ (v.14). He is able to fulfil God’s promises to those who have trusted in God and have “fallen asleep” (v.14). The living believers will be reunited with their dead brothers and sisters at the second coming of Jesus and will experience the final triumph of God together (v.14-16). Paul ends by recapitulating Matthew 24:30 ‘the final redemption at the second coming’ (v.16) and the translation (rapture) of those that are alive ‘in Christ’ and will not experience death (Matt 24:31).

This commentary without recontextualisation clearly indicates that Paul is comforting (v.18) believers of their Christian hope in ‘day of the Lord’.

Many try to relate these verses (1 Thess. 4:13-18) as well as Matthew 24:40-42 to a rapture before the second coming, as with the previous post analyses the evidence does not demand this view.

So I reiterate: it is my conviction that both the Lord and Paul teach that the eternal kingdom begins when Jesus returns without mentioning any other end-time events. There is only one resurrection and one return of Christ. Any other conclusions are a by-product of lifting scripture out of its context, or drawing more from a passage in defence of a particular view.

Next post I will exegete 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 regarding the rapture and the contention that the rapture will be secret and instant (1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-18), and the second coming will be visible to all (Matthew 24:29-30)?

In future I will deal with the contention that at the rapture, believers meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17). At the second coming, believers return with the Lord to the earth as proof that the events are distinct.

 

One Response to “The rapture and the Second coming of Christ Part 2”

  • Jose Duarte:

    Interesting topic and conclusion, with which I would concur based on your analysis and interpretation. Looking forward to your next post.

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